The Social Security System (SSS) has announced that as of November 30, 2013, the P7-billion Educational Assistance (Educ-Assist) loan window has been fully allocated to about 59,600 student-beneficiaries of more than 55,000 SSS members who availed themselves of Educ-Assist loans.

“By design, the Educ-Assist loan program has a finite funding capacity, and we have already committed the funds for existing student-beneficiaries to ensure that their schooling is fully financed until they graduate. Applications for subsequent loan releases from previously-approved loan-borrowers will continue to be processed until the maximum allowed releases allocated to the student-beneficiaries are exhausted,” the SSS explained.

Launched in 2012, the Educ-Assist program has P7-billion in funding that is comprised of P3.5 billion from the national government and P3.5 billion from the SSS. The loan program is envisioned to serve eventually as a revolving fund that may benefit more borrowers once the loan amounts are recovered and collected. But that would take a couple more years as majority of the loan-beneficiaries have yet to finish schooling before the repayment period starts.

Members have up to three years to repay the loan for voc-tech courses and up to five years for college degrees. The grace period before repayment, which will start on the date of the final loan release, is 18 months for semestral courses and 15 months for trimestral programs.

“We are nonetheless pleased that so many of our members took advantage of this loan program to better themselves, their siblings or their children through education. We are glad that we were able to send so many student-beneficiaries to college, vocational and technical courses,” the SSS added. “We hope that the member-borrowers of the Educ-Assist Program will live up to their responsibility of repaying their loans on time so that other members can avail themselves of the same loan program.”